Easter egg hunts
- Jefferson Community Easter Egg Hunt. 1 p.m. Saturday, open to toddlers to 12-year-olds, free; Jefferson Club House, 302 Longview Drive, Jefferson
- 50th Annual Garrison Family Easter Egg Hunt. 2 p.m. Sunday, no age limit, free; at the home of Mack Garrison Jr. on Ga. 51, across from the Banks County Primary School in Homer
Sunday religious services
- St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church. 2920 Landrum Education Drive, Oakwood; 6: 30 a.m. Easter vigil 6:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. principle Easter celebration and Eucharist
- St. John Baptist Church. 741 E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville; 6 a.m. Easter Sunrise service
- Galilee Christian Church. Easter at the Stadium, Jefferson High School Stadium on Memorial Drive, 10:30 a.m.
After 50 years, an area Easter tradition is coming to an end.
The 50th annual Garrison Easter Egg Hunt will be held Easter Sunday in Homer, but it may the last one that the family holds.
“My family has done the Easter egg hunt for 50 years. It’s never been canceled and it’s never been rained out,” said Mack Garrison. “I kinda inherited it. With the economy being the way it is today and after losing some of the people who used to help out due to different reasons, it’s just gotten to be too much of a handful for one family.”
The annual Easter egg hunt started with humble beginnings when Garrison was just 5 years old and has grown to become a world-record-holding affair.
“My grandfather started it for his grandchildren; there were five of us then. Since we all were in the Methodist church, he invited the church family to come, too,” Garrison said.
“So it started out in his front yard for his family and the church family. The next year, he opened it to the school system and all the local churches. The next year, he put an ad on the radio and opened it to the general public.”
In the early 1980s, one of Garrison’s cousins did a school project chronicling the annual event and submitted the information to The Guinness Book of World Records, Garrison’s says.
“Guinness recognized our Easter egg hunt as the largest, but someone later broke our record,” Garrison said. “We didn’t set out to set any records; it just grew to be that big.”
Next Sunday’s event will feature more 100,000 individually wrapped candy eggs on 11 acres of Garrison family farm land.
“We’ll have a special area for preschool children and the rest of the people will be able to hunt in the big field,” Garrison said.
Although Garrison says that this will most likely be the last Garrison family Easter egg hunt, he hopes that local businesses will pick up where the family left off.
“We have had each of the continental United States represented at one time or another. People come from all over; the Easter egg hunt plays a pretty important role to the city for tourism,” Garrison said. “This will be the last year that the family independently sponsors it, but I hope some local organization is interested enough to keep it going. We’ll be happy to provide a place to host it.”
The city of Jefferson is also planning a large community Easter egg hunt for the upcoming weekend. The event is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Jefferson Club House.
In addition to more than 15,000 candy eggs and prize eggs, the event will also feature a bake sale.
Parents will also have the opportunity to have a photograph, fingerprints and a dental impression made for their child free of cost through the Georgia Child Identification Program. The child identification services will be available from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Jefferson Club House on Longview Drive.